Category Archives: Me

English language learning motivation symposium at the University of Toyama February 2017

The University of Toyama is going to have a free to attend English language learning motivation seminar Sunday February 19. There are two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. While it’s free to attend, RSVPs are requested. Details follow.

Download English flyer for University of Toyama English language learning motivation seminar February 2017

Download Japanese flyer for University of Toyama English language learning motivation seminar February 2017

There is also information on the University of Toyama’s Center for International Education and Research’s websites, in both English and Japanese.

Call for papers for ESP Across Cultures

This just in:

Proposals for papers would be most welcome for volume 14 (2017) of ESP Across Cultures (http://www.unifg.it/ricerca/attivita-di-ricerca-di-ateneo/esp-across-cultures).

The deadline for submitting an abstract of 250-300 words is 31 October 2016, with delivery of the completed paper by 28 February 2017.

Abstracts, papers and enquiries regarding the volume should be sent by e-mail to the editor Christopher Williams: christopher.williams@unifg.it

In February 2014 Italy’s National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research (ANVUR) awarded ESP Across Cultures with a CLASS A rating, the highest ranking available.

ESP Across Cultures is now freely accessible online at http://edipuglia.it/esp/. Free accessibility of the journal online considerably enhances its visibility and impact factor.

Since there is no charge for online access, the costs of running the journal will be borne by the contributors themselves. Contributors will be asked to pay a small fee for their contribution to be published only if it is deemed worthy of publication by the referees following the double-blind reviewing process.

Payment will range between a minimum of 210 euros and a maximum 300 euros, on the basis of the GDP ranking of the country of affiliation according to the Global Finance website (http://www.gfmag.com/tools/global-database/economic-data/11934-richest-poorest-countries.html#axzz2I9z7Qhwt) as follows:

– Country ranking 1st to 50th: 300 euros
– Country ranking 51st to 100th: 270 euros
– Country ranking 101st to 150th: 240 euros
– Country ranking from 151st onwards: 210 euros.

In the case of a paper written by two or more contributors coming from different affiliations, only the ranking of the country with the lower GDP will be taken into consideration. Payment is to be made per contribution irrespective of the number of contributors. In other words, a single-authored contribution and a co-authored contribution have the same cost. Naturally, no charge will be made for any contribution that is not considered worthy of publication.

For guidelines concerning formatting etc. please go to http://edipuglia.it/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Instructions.pdf.

To purchase a copy of volumes 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 of ESP Across Cultures please go to http://www.edipuglia.it/ESP/index.php

Volume 12 (2015) is freely available online at http://edipuglia.it/esp/esp2015/

My newest paper is online on analysis of author editor interaction in writing for academic publication

I already mentioned I’m going to be presenting in May at the Third Annual ESBB Conference. I’m also happy to announce that my paper based on my presentation for them at their first annual conference in Izmir, Turkey is now online. In it I share some of my data from my PhD on authors corresponding with editors regarding their writing for academic publication, and some of the themes and issues that came up in those interactions. In particular, I consider how in one case problems arise in the interaction through apparent differences in expectations between one author, Kathy, and her editor, contrasting her experience of that paper with her experience publishing another paper, and a second author’s experience. Interested in the topic of the paper? Feel free to ask about it in the comments below.

I also added the paper to my Academia.edu profile. Thanks to all of my contacts there who provided feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript. Your comments and suggestions were really informative.

2016 KOTESOL National Conference at Sangji University, Wonju May 28 (CFP deadline March 1)

May is going to be a busy conference month for me. The weekend after the English Scholars Beyond Borders Annual Conference in Taiwan I’ll be in Korea for the KOTESOL National Conference to be held at Sangji University in Wonju on May 28. I’m excited and honored to have been asked to give the Plenary address for the conference, and am looking forward to speaking on the theme of the first academic book I helped to edit, Innovating EFL Teaching in Asia.

Their call for papers is open until March 1, so if you’re looking for an end of May conference to attend, it looks to be a great opportunity. Let me know in the comments if you’re going; it’s always good to see friendly faces on the conference circuit.

English Scholars Beyond Borders Annual Conference in Taiwan in May (abstract submission deadline February 15)

I’ve written elsewhere about being a member of English Scholars Beyond Borders, and their third Annual Conference will be held in Tauching, Taiwan May 19 to 22. While I unfortunately had to miss their second conference in India last year, I’m happy to say I’ve committed to the trip this coming May. There’s going to be an interesting line up of journal editors giving Keynote presentations, which I’m particularly looking forward to.

The abstract submission deadline is February 15, so if you’re interested in a friendly, collegial conference with some really top notch scholarship to be presented, I would recommend you consider attending or submitting a presentation proposal. Also, please let me know in the comments if you’re going.

The next weekend after the annual ESBB conference will see me in Korea for the KOTESOL National Conference. I wrote a little about what I’ll be doing there here.

Becoming Superman, Part 2

This is part 2 of my Becoming Superman story. If you haven’t read it yet, part 1 is here.

So I flew through the air briefly then hit the sidewalk and slid. A truck driver stopped to ask if I was OK, and the lady who was waiting to cross the road rushed over to ask the same question. I stood up, and while I was bruised, I decided that I was OK, after all, and so I picked up my scooter, realized the front tire had gone flat, and pushed it the rest of the way home and parked it in our storage room. I took the train to Nakano where my wife was working and she decided that I didn’t need to see a doctor, and so then I took the long train ride home.

At the time I wasn’t enrolled in Japan’s national health insurance, and so we were worried about the cost of seeing one, and since I could walk Yuki thought I should be fine. The memory of the uncertainty about whether we could afford the doctor’s fees is one reason why I’m reluctant to move to a country where there isn’t a national insurance system even today. That was also the first time in my life when my wife refused to give me a hug, as we met at the hospital, and I felt I really needed one after my crash, but that’s perhaps another story for another day.

I didn’t touch the scooter again for the rest of the winter.

Once spring came, I started to think about the scooter again, and to think that it was a waste to just leave it in the storage room, so once the weather warmed in April I took it out of storage to figure out what the problem was with it. I filled it with air and hear a gentle hissing sound, and so filled a bucket with water and rotated the tire around but didn’t find any leaks. Then I put some water over the tire valve and bubbles started leaking out at a really frantic pace. I inspected the valve and concluded that the core was loose, so I got out my tire core tool and tightened it, and the leak stopped.

My best guess as to what happened was that the motorcycle shop worker opened the valve core to change the tire, but after he put the new tire on, he didn’t tighten the core enough to close it, and so when I stopped to eat, all of the air left the tire while I was in the restaurant. When I came out of the restaurant, I thought the handling was funny because it was funny; the tire was flat, but I didn’t think that my new tires would go flat in the time it took for me to eat something, and so didn’t even think about that as a possibility.

Carhartt coveralls: What saved my leg and arm skin in the accident

Regarding my accident, I was really lucky for several reasons. One is that it was winter, and so I was wearing my Carhartt coveralls, which meant my skin was bruised and a bit scratched, but it wasn’t anything major.

The other is that I was wearing a helmet with a full face shield, and so when I hit the ground, the face shield dragged across the road instead of the skin of my face, saving me from having been hurt a lot worse.

My experience is something I remember every time I see a university student riding their motorcycle or scooter with a small bucket helmet with no face cover and too often the strap unbuckled. If I had been doing that when I crashed, I might not still be around today.

Becoming Superman, Part 1

I moved to Japan to live in Nagano in October 2000 and at first my only transportation was a bicycle I bought shortly after arriving. However, in the spring of 2002 one of my students graduated from university and got a job in Tokyo, and so was looking to sell his scooter that he had used when he was a student. I asked him why he wasn’t going to take it with him to Tokyo and he said it was too expensive and the scooter wasn’t worth that much money. He asked if I was interested in buying it, and when I asked him how much he was selling it for, he said, 20,000 yen, which I thought was quite reasonable and so I ended up buying it.

We went to the motorcycle shop he had bought it from to change the ownership registration to my name, and then I started driving it around Nagano. Before long, I was using the scooter to drive back and forth to my classes, although eventually December came and I realized that snow was going to be an issue as far as transportation with the scooter was concerned.

Not wanting to spend the money to buy a car, I started asking around about what my different options were, as by now the scooter was an important part of my ability to get back and forth to work. Someone eventually suggested I change the tires to snow tires. I asked if there really were such things for scooters and was assured that yes, indeed there were.

So I went back to the motorcycle shop that had changed the title for me and asked if they had snow tires for scooters there. The man working there was really advanced in years and replied that yes, yes they did have snow tires. I asked if I could buy them that same day or not, and he said that yes I could, and so I asked how much they were and when I should come back. He said it would take 90 minutes to change the tires on my scooter.

I spent the next 90 minutes walking around downtown Nagano, up to Zenkoji Temple and back again, and then stopped in at the shop. My scooter was up on their service stand with back tire off. The old guy working there says, “Come back later! Come back later!” I ask how long should I wait, and he says 90 minutes.

By now it’s lunch time, so I head somewhere for lunch then kill another hour or so wandering around. When I get back into the shop, this time the back tire is on but the front tire is off, and he says, “Come back later! Come back later!” I ask how long again and this time he says an hour. And so I kill another hour of time.

After this last hour, when I get back into the shop the guy is furiously tightening the bolt on the front tire and says, “I’m almost done! Please wait.” Once he finishes, we settle the bill and then I get my scooter to drive back home.

All of my walking has made me hungry, and so I decide to stop on the way home for a small snack. After I finish, when I get back on my scooter I think the handling is a little strange, but figure I just bought the snow tires, and so perhaps the handling is a bit different with the snow tires on it.

I start on my way home, and as I’m approaching a crosswalk I see a lady waiting to cross the street. I make it a point to stop for people in crosswalks, so I hit my brake, and the front end of my scooter collapses out from under me and I go over the handlebars, striking a Superman pose for a brief moment before hitting the pavement.

The question I ask my students at this point in the story is what happened that caused the front end of my scooter to collapse and me to become a very short-lived Superman? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Want to know what happened? Part 2 of the story is here.

My Asthma Story Part 3: Moving to Toyama

177053_10151008643579461_473355949_o
The Tateyama Mountain Range from Shiratori Castle, Kureha Mountain

If you haven’t yet read part 1 and part 2 of this story, I would recommend you start there.

There didn’t used to be a part 3 to this story, but when I took my current position at the University of Toyama, I had to change doctors, from my pulmonologist in Nagano to a pulmonologist in Toyama. I asked my Nagano doctor to write a referral letter for me and presented it at the University of Toyama Hospital, and was soon assigned a pulmonologist who took over the management of my asthma medicine. After seeing him a few times, he said that my recommendation letter mentioned high cholesterol, but that his speciality is pulmonology, and so rather than try to manage my cholesterol, he wanted to refer me to a lipid specialist.

I reluctantly agreed, and the lipid specialist first wanted to do another blood test to check my cholesterol levels. I went in and had the test done, and when I met the lipid specialist, he said that yes, my cholesterol levels were high, which made feel rather upset, but then he asked if I had eaten breakfast the morning that I had my blood test done. I replied that of course I had eaten breakfast. I eat breakfast every day. It’s supposed to be healthy. He said that the cholesterol levels should be a person’s fasting cholesterol, not their cholesterol after they’ve eaten, and so he asked me to have the blood check done again.

At our next appointment, he checked my fasting cholesterol levels and said they were borderline high, but not so high that I would need to take medicine, and recommended that I keep trying to eat healthy and exercise.

So in the end, after I finally saw a lipid specialist, the final verdict was that my cholesterol wasn’t that high after all. The problem was instead that no one had told me I shouldn’t eat breakfast on the day my cholesterol levels are checked until I finally met the lipid specialist.

I wonder what the message of this story is? That specialists should stay within their field of speciality when treating patients, as my pulmonologist in Nagano never mentioned seeing another doctor about my cholesterol, while my pulmonologist in Toyama said it wasn’t his speciality and so he didn’t want to try to treat it? That very simple miscommunications, such as the directions to not eat breakfast in the morning can have a huge influence on test results? I think that certainly doctors and pharmacists should explain the potential side effects of the drugs they prescribe and dispense, especially considering my experience.

Overall, I’m glad my first pulmonologist in Nagano pushed me to do exercise. Cycling has been an overall boon to my health, although I certainly could have done without the episode of drug side effects that I experienced. My guess is that my cholesterol really was very high around the time that he first checked it, but I ate breakfast every time he checked my cholesterol, so I’ll never really know what the numbers should have been.

If you’re interested in the topic of the treatment of high cholesterol, the US recently overhauled their guidelines. There’s a really engaging explanation of the new guidelines and their implications for treatment on the UCTV website presented by Dr. Robert Baron, UCSF Professor of Medicine.